Survival Guide to New Parenthood

You have dreamed about how fantastic it would be to have a family of your own. After a few years of marital bliss with the perfect partner, the two of you decided to start a family. Nine months of planning and preparing are behind, and you have your precious bundle in your arms; you are both in complete shock. Who could have predicted that a tiny baby could wreak such havoc on what was a happy, well functioning life and marriage? While having your first baby is truly the fulfillment of an incredible dream and a promise for the future, getting through the early months and redefining your relationship can be extremely challenging. The never ending demands of early parenthood can be completely overwhelming. Don’t be disheartened if you feel less happy in your marriage after your baby arrives. Many experts who have researched the transition to parenthood report that it is normal to experience a drop in marital satisfaction after the birth of your first child. Studies also show that marital satisfaction improves over time. Here are some suggestions to help make this experience a little easier for the two of you:
Being exhausted and stressed often leads to feeling overwhelmed and resentful. Arguments that you and your partner could easily resolve in the past can build up and contribute to angry exchanges. It will benefit each of you, if you are willing to adjust your expectations of each other as you redefine what love looks like in this new arena. Patience, compassion and grace can substitute for the go-to connection that quality time and sexual connection used to provide. Try to focus on the helpful things you do for one another and the ways you attempt to show love and support.
Consider making a plan for who will be responsible for which tasks. Sometimes neither of you will be able to get it done on time, or at all, which is absolutely okay. If you used to be able to take care of everything but you find yourself needing help, see if your budget will allow for an extra sitter or help with chores. Take advantage of the baby’s nap times. It is tempting to use that time to get things done, but if your partner is at home, you can spend some quality time together.
Be protective of your time. The downtime you used to have for snuggling and hanging out together is now filled with things to do. Carefully choose your outside activities and with whom you spend your time. Your time is precious, but so are your partner and child. Moreover, ask for what you need. If you need help, ask for it.  Allow yourselves to define what is right and normal for the two of you. Resist comparing or feeling competitive with peers or siblings. What works for you will not be the same as what feels right for your friends and family. Lots of people will want to give you advice; take what feels right and let the rest go.
The old days of spontaneity will give way to making plans. Date nights are a great idea, if they are working well. If not, don’t put extra pressure on yourselves. Meaningful conversation and romantic dinners will return in time. When both of you are ready, make plans to have sex. While scheduled sex may seem unromantic, the chances of actually having sex will be higher if you prioritize it. If you don't want to go out, invite friends over to your home. Resist the temptation to isolate if you think your house or meals aren’t in the shape they used to be. Friends love you and will enjoy being with you. If you are struggling with any of these issues, and you feel you would benefit from a listening ear, please contact me today. I would be more than happy to assist you on your journey.